Today, I am excited to welcome Peter Fogtdal to Literary Escapism. Peter is the author of the historical fiction novel, The Tsar’s Dwarf.
Soerine, a deformed female dwarf from Denmark, is given as a gift to Tsar Peter the Great, who is smitten by her freakishness and intellect. Against her will, the Tsar takes Soerine to St. Petersburg, where she becomes a jester in his court. There, she lives a life that both compels and repels her. Soerine eventually gives in to the attentions of Lukas, the Tsar’s favorite dwarf, and carves out an existence for herself amidst the squalor and lice-ridden world of dwarfs in the early 18th century. In this inhospitable milieu, Soerine’s intelligence and detached wit provide her some small measure of protection — until disaster strikes in the shape of a priest who wants to “save” her. The Tsar’s Dwarf is a masterfully told and brilliantly translated novel about aberration, endurance, and the human condition.
Make sure you stick around as we’re giving away a copy of The Tsar’s Dwarf to a lucky commentator.
No Pastry Jokes, Please, I’m Danish by Peter H. Fogtdal
I’m Danish, I’m weird.
You probably haven’t heard of Denmark, it’s a country the size of a blister. It’s situated in Scandinavia, and we’re known for Lego, Maersk, and our excellent porn. We’re also avid beer drinkers and supposedly the happiest nation on earth. However, I doubt that very much, since our weather is worse than Seattle’s.
Denmark is the kind of place where you want to kill yourself in November. Not to forget October, January, February, and March. You get a break in December because Santa Claus drops by, and as everybody knows, Santa is Danish. He lives in Greenland which is Danish territory, and the closest you ever want to get to The North Pole.
Denmark is also a literary place. Hans Christian Andersen, the father of the modern fairy tale, was Danish. So was Søren Kierkegaard, the philosopher and Peter Høeg who had an American monster hit with Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Some of you intellectuals might have heard of Isak Dinesen whose real name was Karen Blixen. She almost won the Nobel prize and was played by Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. Meryl did NOT get an A for her Danish accent in that role, thank you very much.
There are also a lot of unimportant writers from Denmark and I’m proud to say I’m one of them. But I have one thing going for me. I have a novel out in the US and that doesn’t happen to a lot of Danes. So why did it happen to me, you may be rude enough to ask? Well, I guess I got lucky. Or maybe I slept with some one. Let’s not go there; this is a nice blog.
So ladies and gentlemen, you’re about to read my historical novel, The Tsar’s Dwarf. At least I hope you are. It’s a great book; my mother liked it enormously. The novel is out in Danish as Zarens dværg, in French as La Naine du Tsar, and in Portuguese as A Ana Do Czar, and I’m proud to say that it has been ignored equally in all countries. It’s also getting a review on this blog. I don’t know whether it’s going to be great or a vicious trashing. I tried to bribe Jackie, but she didn’t want my money, just my body.
On a serious note, I’m actually happy with the way my career is going. I live part time in Portland, Oregon where I torture as many students I can get away with. At occasions, they return the favor. And at times I go on book tour with The Tsar’s Dwarf which has great blurbs from Pulitzer finalist Joanna Scott and Man Booker finalist Sebastian Barry. I’ve been to nine states on my tour and I’ve been thrown out of eight. Maybe it’s because I drool on the book sellers. The only thing I know is that I’m enjoying myself more than the audience.
So dear visitors at Literary Escapism, thanks for reading this. If you want more after you read the book, I have a weird blog called DANISH ACCENT. Drop by any time. It’s in very poor taste. What else would you expect from a degenerate who shares his time between Copenhagen and Portland?
Peter H. Fogtdal
Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of The Tsar’s Dwarf to a lucky commentator and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is answer one of these simple questions (or all of them your choice): Introduce us to someone new. Someone we may not be familiar with or is completely under-showcased.
The contest is open to everyone, so everyone overseas can join in the fun as well.
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it (#litesc), share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (in the same post). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.
For more entries, purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. Each purchase is one entry and it has to be through the LE Link.
Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry. Make sure you leave a comment so I know that’s why you’re joining. Only new readers to the group will be considered.
For an additional entry, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar. This is for new subscribers only.
I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer. All entries must be in by midnight on July 21st.